Protecting Yourself and Your Rental Property
Benjamin Gene is the President of KPM,
and has over a decade of industry experience
Rising property values and a smaller inventory of affordable starter homes have led to a boom in the rental market. Few places can boast as strong a market as South Florida, where great rental opportunities get filled as quickly as they come up for rent.
This has led to a situation where landlords or agents get themselves into trouble with Fair Housing Practices in the way that they turn down prospective rental applicants. Today's guest post comes from Benjamin Gene, President of Keyes Property Management with a word of advice on how to do this and make sure you don't open yourself up to potential liability.
I’d like to discuss declining tenants for a rental. As some of us have seen, there are now “Professional Tenants” who will call around to speak with agents or owners of rental listings to try and trip them up on Fair Housing issues before suing them for breach of those laws.
What I would like to do today is tell you how to legally decline a prospective tenant. It’s actually very simple. Simply state, “I’m sorry. We are not able to offer you the property at this time.” No matter their response, including when they ask why, repeat the phrase again.
This way, you don’t open up any avenues to allow them to claim that you violated any Fair Housing laws. They may get frustrated at your insistence on repeating that phrase, but it will protect you or the owners from violations.
Additionally, at MyRentalScreening.com, KPM will provide owners and agents with a summary page of why a tenant has been declined. This is based on criteria that they agree to prior to filling out the application. The only reason you must put in writing why you decline a tenant is for credit reasons. You do this by providing an Adverse Action letter. At MyRentalScreening.com, we provide you with this letter. Remember, the only thing to say is, “I’m sorry. We are not able to offer you the property at this time.”